SEATTLE, Wash. (Sept. 19, 2016) – Driver Jon Bennett achieved a personal best finish of seventh at Red Bull Global Rallycross Seattle. Newcomer Scott Anderson started the weekend strong with a third-place finish in his first heat race, but was unable to make the final.
Under gorgeous conditions on Friday, Anderson qualified his No. 56 GRC Lites entry ninth and converted that into a third-place finish in the first heat race. Bennett qualified the No. 54 in 11th, but an opening lap accident in the first heat race resulted in a DNF.
Saturday brought not only a reversal of weather conditions, but a reversal of fortunes for the CORE autosport drivers. The skies turned gray and rain wet down the circuit at Evergreen Speedway. Contact in the second heat slowed Anderson to a fourth-place finish. Bennett also finish fourth in his second heat, so both CORE drivers faced the Last Change Qualifier (LCQ).
Starting from the pole in the LCQ, Anderson got nudged into the wall in Turn One, which broke the car’s suspension and ended his race. Bennett ended up third in the LCQ and successfully transferred to the final.
Bennett deftly avoided an opening lap incident in the mud and was able to cross the finish line in seventh; his best GRC finish to-date.
“It is great to have Scott on team and we are impressed with his adaptation to GRC,” CORE autosport GRC Program Manger Brian Colangelo said. “Jon was able to help Scott come up to speed quickly during our test before the Seattle event.
“We are off testing again immediately after Seattle with no time to spare. The crew has done its usual fantastic job of turning the cars around quickly after an extremely eventful Seattle race in preparation for the test. We are looking forward to the Los Angeles finale and hope to finish strong there with the momentum we are building and what we are learning with our testing.”
The GRC season finale is approaching quickly. A doubleheader in Los Angeles, California, takes place October 8 – 9.
“In Seattle we had a GRC circuit built into a permanent short-track oval. The venue was nice and the track was really well laid out. I enjoyed having Scott Anderson for a teammate for the first time and watching him get acclimated and learn the flow of a GRC event.
“In the first heat race, I had a killer start. I went from P6 to P2 heading into the first turn. Using my road racing background I was able to brake deeper into the corner than the leader. I crept into his blind spot, we collided and our wheels locked, which got my car a bit on top of his car. The CORE guys had the car fixed in a few hours.
“I enjoyed the wet conditions on Saturday. I think my background and the rain racing I’ve done is an advantage over the younger drivers in this series who are still learning how a car’s personality changes in the wet.
“I finished third in the LCQ and went on to finish seventh in the final. I was hoping for a podium, but for the moment that is my personal best. It’s nice to see the progression and I think my first podium isn’t far off.”
– Jon Bennett
“GRC is a whole different animal from what I’m used to, more often than not I’m finding I need to forget what I’ve learned in open-wheel racing and start from scratch when it comes to adjusting to new techniques. I love the racing though, it’s extremely intense with so many variables being thrown at you. I think I’m addicted.
“The hardest thing to adjust to is knowing the limits of what you can pull off with AWD in dirt. You can recover from some big slides and demand a lot more out of the car than I would have thought, I still think there’s a ton of potential I haven’t found yet.
“In my second heat I had some contact that knocked the steering out of alignment, so it wouldn’t turn left well. We still came away fourth but needed a third to transfer straight to the final.
“In the LCQ I was on the inside of three cars going into Turn One and got turned into, which sent me into the inside wall. It broke the suspension and our day ended there.
– Scott Anderson